Clark, George Aitken (DNB00)

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CLARK, GEORGE AITKEN (1823–1873), manufacturer and philanthropist, was the son of John Clark, thread manufacturer, Paisley, where he was born on 9 Aug. 1823. He was educated at the Paisley grammar school, and while still a lad was in 1840 sent across the Atlantic to enter the firm of Kerr & Co. at Hamilton, Ontario. On reaching manhood he returned to Paisley, and entered into partnership with Messrs. Robert and John Ronald, shawlmakers, under the name of Ronald & Clark. In 1851 he relinquished the partnership to enter into company with his brother-in-law, Mr. Robert Kerr, as a thread manufacturer. With a view to extend the business he went in 1856 to the United States, and, finding that they were much hampered by the high protective duties, the firm in 1864 resolved to establish a branch factory at Newark, New Jersey. The enterprise met with great success, and Clark's O.N.T. spool cotton soon became a widely recognised American manufacture. In 1866 the firm amalgamated with the original firm of Clark under the name of Clark & Co., with an anchor as their trade-mark. Clark died at Newark on 13 Feb. 1873. By his will he left 20,000l. to found four scholarships of 300l. a year each, tenable for three years, at Glasgow University, and 20,000l. to build a town hall in Paisley. The firm of Clark & Co. subscribed 40,000l. additional for the latter purpose, and the building styled the ‘George A. Clark Town Hall’ was opened in 1882.

[Biographical notices of the Clark family added to Notice of the Inauguration of the George A. Clark Town Hall. Paisley; Irving’s Dict. of Eminent Scotsmen; Glasgow University Calendar.]

T. F. H.